Seismologists report drop in Earth’s movement amid coronavirus lockdown
The BGS seismology team, together with a number of scientists across Europe, have been studying a drop in ambient seismic noise during the first coronavirus lockdown.
People staying at home has had a noticeable effect on the UK’s seismic noise. The BGS has seismometers around the UK and during the first lockdown there was a 10-50 per cent drop in vibrations. Although that number naturally rose as lockdowns were eased, another drop is expected during the 2021 lockdown. We will monitor the situation accordingly.
Review of impacts on mineral and metal raw materials
The BGS is conducting a review of the current and likely COVID-19 impacts on the UK security of the supply of mineral and metal raw materials.
Overseas work carries on despite COVID-19
Throughout 2020, BGS staff maintained close working relationships with our overseas partners, forming lasting bonds and continuing to carry out work in many foreign areas. One such project is the joint environmental geochemistry projects in Kenya, which you can read more about on our blog.
Revised methodology for geological and hydrogeological reports for agencies in support of their COVID-19 emergency duties
The BGS currently operates a core service to deliver detailed geological and hydrological information for the expansion of existing or the development of new cemeteries.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BGS has revised its methodology to provide a rapid turnaround time for these enquiries, should the situation arise that there is an increase in requests from Local Authorities or other regulatory bodies.
Following a call from the Microbiology Society to support with COVID-19 testing, BGS geomicrobiologists have been using their skills to help with the increase in medical testing. A member of the communications team is also on a secondment to the Department of Health COVID-19 Communications Taskforce, supporting the national testing programme.
Since lockdown began in March 2020, staff have coordinated efforts to donate PPE items from the BGS laboratories to local hospitals and GP surgeries. 16 000 pairs of disposable gloves, as well as aprons, lab coats and face masks, have been donated.
Following appeals to staff, over 1500 sheets of acetate were passed by the BGS to the local parish council, who supported frontline workers at Nottinghamshire NHS Foundation Trust hospitals by turning them into face shields.
BGS data scientist Alex Hall took part in a remote hackathon geared towards helping the current pandemic. Run by a London-based company called Mindstream-AI, he teamed up with data scientists and medical experts from around the UK to find ways of adapting code that we normally use for geology to be used for medical purposes.
The BGS Geology Shop at the Natural History Museum is now open to the public. The Keyworth and Edinburgh shops remain closed for the time being. Many GeoReports are temporarily unavailable due to the limitations associated with our report writers needing to work from home.
We hope to resume services as soon as possible.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but will continue to monitor emails at BGS Enquiries if you have any questions we can help with.
The BGS has been providing activities and information across social media to help families explore geology during lockdown.
We are offering more online talks than ever before, which you can see on our YouTube channel. Recently we’ve had talks with undersea geologist Heather Stewart, who has mapped the five ‘deeps’ of the ocean, and satellite specialist Ekbal Hussain who taught us why satellites are so important to daily life. Leanne Hughes, BGS survey geologist has also started a ‘jam jar geology’ video series. In each video, Leanne demonstrates a short geology-based activity and encourages viewers to take part.
The BGS has a whole host of exciting learning resources called Discovering Geology. You can find out about the geology of Britain, how earthquakes happen, climate change and the mind-blowing subject that is geological time. If you fancy getting arty you can make a map or even cut out and make your own 3D Icelandic glacier. If you are a fan of LEGO, then there are instructions on how to make your very own LEGO seismometer, so that you can measure your own earth tremors.
The BGS blog, Geoblogy, features posts that explore geology experiments, arts and crafts, as well as geology courses.
On Twitter, BGS minerals geologist Clive Mitchell has taken on the role of Rock Doctor. He helps diagnose and share clues about the origins of BGS Twitter followers’ rocks. If you would like to submit your own rock, please tweet @BritGeoSurvey with some pictures of your rock, where it was found and anything else that you think might help us to identify it.